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Four scenarios for the future of the pharmaceutical industry

Bradfield, Ron M. and El-Sayed, Hany (2009) Four scenarios for the future of the pharmaceutical industry. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 21 (2). pp. 195-212. ISSN 1465-3990

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Pharmaceutical companies are facing several major interrelated challenges, the most strategic being the decline in R&D productivity resulting in empty product pipelines to replace products nearing patent expiry. A common response has been mergers and acquisition of competitors and biotechnology firms, but rather than resolving the problems, this has created new ones. While biotechnology promises to reshape the pharmaceutical industry, it too faces challenges: the industry as a whole is unprofitable and there is uncertainty regarding market acceptance of its products. This paper examines the current issues in the two industries, and describes a scenario process resulting in the development of a set of scenarios depicting four possible future paths along which the pharmaceutical industry may develop over the next 15 years.